Under Georgia law, an individual is allowed to file an action for separate maintenance that protects their legal rights to custody, visitation, financial support, and possession of marital property, without requiring a formal divorce.
In Georgia, you may file for separate maintenance if you have a valid marriage and you are living in a bona fide state of separation. Unlike some states, in Georgia, a husband and wife may live at the same address and still be legally separated. In this situation, however, the husband and wife cannot share the same bed and their lives should be separate financially and socially. In addition to these requirements, the couple cannot have a pending action for divorce in place if one of the parties intends to file for separate maintenance.
Filing for separate maintenance does not mean that the marriage ends. Frequently, an action for separate maintenance would be for couples that do not want, or cannot for whatever reason get, a divorce but want to live apart. Common reasons to file for separate maintenance may include:
- The parties do not yet meet the residency requirements to file for divorce in Georgia
- Religious beliefs prohibit divorce
- Social and cultural reasons
- To maintain health insurance for a dependent spouse
- There may be a possibility of reconciliation
If you think that filing for separate maintenance would be in your best interests, our attorneys can help you understand the process and help put you in the best position in the event the matter should become part of a future divorce action.